I had no idea when I started posting pictures of our trip to Bonners Ferry, that this would be such a long story.
Actually, while looking back on the pictures I realize now just how much we squeezed into two days and three nights.
We had so little time with Chris that it's obvious (looking back on the trip now) that we all just wanted to make the most of our time together.
Chris is doing well.
Finally finding his path after struggling for so long to find his way in the world.
I found myself often wordlessly watching my youngest boy, listening to some of the struggles he has faced as he told me stories in his matter-of-fact and off-handed way, desperately wanting to hold and protect a boy who is not a boy anymore but a man.
Desperately and continually having to control mother-instincts that I knew would only smother a man.
Leaving him alone to continue to struggle as he walks his own path, but at least stepping forward long enough to let him know that he actually isn't alone and I will always be there for him...........
After leaving Sandpoint Beach we loaded back into the truck and drove only a few minutes to the downtown area.
With disappointment we quickly found that the army surplus store was closed on Sunday, as I suspected that it might be.
With that, we found a parking spot on the main road in town, climbed out and began to quietly wander and look and photograph and continue talking.
I LOVED this town.
I hadn't done any research on any of the towns (CDA, Sandpoint or Bonners Ferry) before we left Atomic City, but I knew enough to see confirmation in our walks, that this was an area driven by a tourist based economy.
The signs of that were everywhere we looked, even this late in the year and with tourists mostly now gone home.
Outdoor patios. Boat slips. Yuppie stores filled with name brand outdoor gear, Native American art and jewelry, antique stores.
Colorful and wonderful signs outside stores, imploring attention and money spending.
Book stores and coffee shops and eclectic restaurants.
Statues and plaques and small sculptures.
Pretty landscaping and colorful trees and big, happy Idaho dogs being walked by Columbia and The North Face clad likely-transplants to the area...............
One thing that surprised me was the town residents propensity to ride old bicycles.
Old school Raleighs and Schwinns, and not the new, carbon fiber, lightweight, multi-geared mountain bikes that are so popular in places such as Asheville, NC (an outdoor-based town that had the same vibe to me as Sandpoint).............
One more beautiful painting on the exterior of one more building.............
We had stopped briefly about 30 minutes into our walk, to eat some boneless chicken wings and bread sticks.
Surprisingly, 15 minutes later, Chris was in search of more food.
This little chuck wagon was closed, but right next door was a coffee shop.
We had eaten chicken while we walked, and by this time LC and I were ready to drink coffee on their outdoor patio.
To sit for a few moments in yuppie-coffeeville and enjoy what was turning out to be a very beautiful and sunny and warm day...............
Very cool little place............
And SHE will answer the question of what the red eyed picture at the top of this blog post is all about.
While LC and Chris waited for coffee (just plain black coffee thanks) I walked over to this interesting Halloween decoration and watched her, amused for a few moments at her flashing eyes.
The eyes flashed red on and off every few seconds, and I stood in slightly distracted frustration for a few moments, trying to capture the eyes flashing.
My little digital camera has an annoying delay to it (and I have missed some really interesting shots over the years because of it), so it took me a couple of times, and exact timing, to get her lit up.............
Coffee bags decorating the entire ceiling of the shop............
Chris looked at me as I snapped a quick picture of this sign posted in the back window of someone's parked vehicle.
"Alright mom - that's a little obsessive".
Unphased with my sons' mild critique, we continued on.
I have no idea who Joe and Jean are, but apparently they are quite remarkable.............
After spending a couple of hours walking through town, wandering into and out of a couple of interesting stores, and grabbing food and drink enough to sustain us until we picked up groceries to cook over the fire that evening, we headed back to the motel in Bonners.
It was only early afternoon, and the guys wanted to fish some more.
We stopped for a short while to take Jamie for a walk before heading out again.
This picture was taken behind the motel and looking back towards the mountains and kaleidoscope of colorful trees.
I took this picture as I slowly walked with Jamie.
I missed her being with us, and I hated her spending so much time alone in a strange town.
Mostly I missed her being with me.
We had taken so many drives together over the years. So many walks together. In the forests back east. On trails in Alaska and on BLM land in Wyoming.
Crossed creeks. Climbed under and over everything from fences to downed trees. As long as I was right there she would go anywhere with me. Sometimes I had to cajole her. Sometimes I had to carry her. Sometimes I had to give her a butt-push helping hand. Sometimes I had to turn back when the going just got too rough for a pup. But she had always been game to go where I went.
But now, every day, I could do less with her, and I hated that I had dragged her all the way up to Northern Idaho and she could not enjoy it.
She was getting old quickly.
Before my eyes.
She needed much rest..........and so I slowly walked my sweet girl while LC and Chris waited on us................
They had caught a huge craw fish the day before, but had had no luck fishing at the beach at Sandpoint.
We headed towards the river near Bonners Ferry.
They had one more shot at it.
Last chance to catch their fish before we all headed home the next day..............